Guru's USBWA Talk: Similar Events Produce Multiple Conference POWs
By Mel Greenberg
It’s been another seven days of outstanding performances across the country and it seems that since the selection process began for the new United States Basketball Writers Association women’s national player of the week announced early Tuesday afternoon, a phenomenon has occurred called the Event Double.
This will probably go away as the 2012 portion of the schedule heads into conference play but for the third straight week and in several locations – either single game or holiday tournament -- the event produced in two places conference player of the week awards creating the pool from which the candidates for the USBWA award get consideration.
For example, in Iowa State’s tournament – the Cyclone Challenge – the Cyclones’ Chelsea Poppens earned the Big 12 conference honor for averaging 16.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in wins over New Hampshire and Buffalo.
Out of the same competition, New Hampshire’s Denise Beliveau averaged 18.0 points and 7.5 rebounds against the host Cyclones and NJIT, a performance that brought the weekly citation from the America East.
In Maryland’s tournament, sophomore Alyssa Thomas averaged 17.0 pointds and 6.0 rebounds in wins over Lafayette and Delaware which led to the Atlantic Coast Conference blue ribbon media panel giving her another in collection of conference awards, that last season also brought rookie of the year honors besides several weekly rookie citations.
On the other side, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne, the nation’s leading scorer, averaged 27.0 points and 7.0 rebounds, including a 32-point game against the host Terrapins and that made her a Colonial Athletic Association co-player of the week along with Virginia Commonwealth’s Courtney Hurt, who in the Miami Holiday Classic hosted by the Hurricanes averaged 28.5 points and 18.5 rebounds in a split with a win over Morgan State and loss to Miami.
The CAA doesn’t give out visiting conference player of the week awards but if the honor existed, Princeton’s Niveen Rasheed could have easily claimed the prize.
She averaged 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists and 4.5 steals in two road stops at CAA schools as the Tigers beat Hofstra and Drexel.
Rasheed’s work did enable her to share Ivy player of the week honors with Brown’s Hannah Passafuime, who averaged 13.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in two wins on the West Coast.
Meanwhile, there were other notable efforts inside and outside the tournament realm.
Marist’s Corielle Yarde of Reading, Pa., got her second straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference player honor performing in a narrow home loss to Kansas State, 57-56, as she scored 21 points.
In the Big East, Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers dominated Vermont and host Dartmouth in the Big Green’s Blue Sky Classic scoring 34 points against the Catamounts to match a career high and then the next day exceed with 39 points against the host school.
Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper continues to hit the 30-point plateau like it’s commonplace. On the road in the Cornhuskers’ new home in the Big 10, she scored 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Nebraska shocked host Penn State in the conference opener.
Tennessee’s Glory Johnson in two wins off single games against Old Dominion and Auburn averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds to win the Southeastern Conference player of the week.
Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference got off to its first 2-0 start in conference play since 1998-99 with wins over Northern Illinois and Bradley and the person given credit for that success with the conference award is the Shockers’ Chynna Turner who was 12-for-13 from the field in the two wins.
In the Mountain West, New Mexico edged local rival New Mexico State 59-58 as Porche Torrance had 11 points and 15 rebounds, including the game winner to pick up the conference award.
The Atlantic 10 skipped a week over Christmas and the compilation of work since the last conference honor before the holidays enabled Dayton’s Justine Raterman to claim the prize averaging 20.8 points in the four games the Flyers’ played, winning the St. Peter’s tournament and splitting games in Las Vegas.
The Pac-12 got under way last week and Washington State opened with two road wins over Oregon and Oregon State, enabling Jazmine Perkins with a 13.0 scoring average and 13.5 rebounds to gain the Bank of the West sponsored prize. It’s the first 2-0 start since 2000-01 and the first road sweep since 1994-95.
Finally, in the Western Athletic Conference, Idaho’s Alyssa Charlston averaged 18.0 in a 1-1 split in the Montana Invitational.